AST SpaceMobile, Inc., the company building the first and only space-based cellular broadband network designed to be accessible directly by standard mobile phones, has announced a Memorandum of Understanding with Globe Telecom, Inc. This broadband network will enable mobile subscribers to automatically roam from land networks to a space network. Whether in the most remote location, on rural farmland or in the midst of a crisis or natural disaster, people will remain connected no matter what — without having to invest in expensive, specialized hardware.
Globe is a leading digital platform in the Philippines, serving consumers and businesses’ telecommunications and technology needs, including about 86 million wireless subscribers.
“The Philippines’ thousands of islands create formidable challenges to meet a growing demand for cellular broadband connectivity,” said Chris Ivory, Chief Commercial Officer of AST SpaceMobile. “We believe our planned space-based network is well-suited to help.”
Once launched, AST SpaceMobile would aim to provide Globe with expanded coverage and reach to remote and underserved areas.
“Globe has always been a pioneer in bringing first-to-market digital solutions to empower Filipinos. This collaboration is another step in Globe’s continuing initiatives to provide digital connectivity to remote rural communities as part of its commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. It is our mission to enable inclusive economic growth and provide quality education and e-health even in remote and still unconnected rural communities,” said Gerhard Tan, Globe’s Network Strategy and Technology Enablement Director.
In related news, AST SpaceMobile announced it has received an experimental license from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) supporting its U.S.-based testing of the BlueWalker 3 satellite.
The license covers BlueWalker 3 space-to-ground testing in the United States using 3GPP low-band cellular frequencies and Q/V-band frequencies, subject to certain restrictions.
The authorization comes as the company prepares for the planned summer 2022 launch of BlueWalker 3, its test satellite with an aperture of 693 square feet that is designed to communicate directly with cell phones via 3GPP standard frequencies.
AST SpaceMobile has entered into agreements and understandings with mobile network operators which collectively service over 1.8 billion cellular customers.